Dear Friends and Family

Well, we just returned from Mia’s shichi go san (7 5 3) celebration.

All the other 7 and 3 year old girls has beautiful hair pieces as

well as the traditional kimono.

I could barely get Mia into the kimono (only achieved after

commenting that it was a “princess dress.”) She wouldn’t let me get

close to her hair.

But she did sit quietly through the short service the shinto priest

did for all the celebrants.

It looked like exactly the same service as the priest did for Maika’s

first shrine visit 5 months ago.

Religious Observances

Anyway, although I consider myself a Lutheran with Unitarian

tendencies (and a dash of Quakerism), I still find it difficult to

feel the same reverence and comfort I get with the Lutheran liturgy

with other religion’s services.

Everyone else in their robes and set patterns of walking and

offerings and chanting looks somewhat whimsical to me (no offense is

meant here, I have only respect for most religions).

Yet when a Lutheran priest in his robe walks down the aisle to the

music and chants and prays, it doesn’t seem weird to me. It’s a big

old cultural difference, I guess.

Which makes it hard for me to understand people (and I am not

condemning them here, just stating my own point of view) who

sincerely identify themselves with religions not of their culture.

(for example Japanese Christians or U.S. WASP Buddhists)

While I have felt “spiritual” at shrines and mountain tops and other

places besides Lutheran Churches before, I never get the same,

comforting, almost physical sense of worship I get in the Church

service of my youth.

How do you get that feeling for a religion based on a culture very

different from yours?

It is an interesting topic of discussion. Not that I want to discuss

it with Japanese Christians, mind you. The Japanese Christians I tend

to come into contact with are the ones with tracts who come to your

door. Usually they are easy to get rid of when they see my face and I

tell them I am Lutheran (although I may not have the correct Katakana

accent for “lutheran” because they often seem confused).

I believe that God doesn’t really care how he is worshipped, as long

as the intent is true, but I can’t help wondering what kind of

Japanese person (in a culture so self-congratulatingly homogeneous-

even though that’s an erroneous stereotype) wants to stick out of the

crowd by identifying themselves to multiple strangers as Christian.


On a different note, Mia got her kindergarten acceptance letter

yesterday. I was very leery of the whole interview process, but Mia

went with the teacher and the other kids without a peep, leaving me

alone to answer a questionnaire.

Which indeed had the question “why did you choose this school” on it.

Now we have to go on Monday and pay the school about a thousand

dollars as an “entrance fee” and uniform fee.

Tee hee, Mia’s going to wear a uniform!